Colorado Springs, Colo. (April 14, 2023)—USA Ultimate, the national governing body for the sport of ultimate in the United States and member of the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee, strives to create and maintain an inclusive, safe and welcoming environment for all, including players, fans, organizers, coaches and many others adjacent to our sport. In valuing the contributions and perspectives that a truly diverse community brings to our sport and its culture, we remain unequivocally committed to our equity, diversity and inclusion efforts and believe they are critical to the continued integrity of our sport.
As a wave of anti-transgender legislation continues to pass through state governments – including laws that target and restrict the rights of transgender athletes in 21 states – USA Ultimate steadfastly supports an individual’s right to participate in our sport in a manner that respects and celebrates their gender identity without being subject to harassment, abuse or ridicule. All participants should be allowed to experience the joy of ultimate as their authentic and true selves.
USA Ultimate has recently designed and implemented various measures that illustrate this ongoing support, and continues to explore other opportunities to share resources with local communities through strategic partnerships. Some of those recent action items include:
- Last June, USA Ultimate updated and revised its Event Disciplinary Authority Guidelines. These guidelines empower a broad range of officials (tournament directors, observers, and local, regional or national volunteers) to impose sanctions or penalties for violations of USA Ultimate’s Code of Conduct during events in progress. The guidelines support a zero-tolerance policy for discrimination and harassment, including the use of racist, sexist, homophobic or transphobic language.
- The USA Ultimate Board of Directors recently passed a policy that prohibits the awarding of national championship events to locations in states that have anti-transgender sports participation laws while proactively seeking additional feedback from the ultimate community in further development of the policy.
- USA Ultimate is currently seating an LGBTQ+ Advisory Council, which will act as a sounding board for ideas on how to best support LGBTQ+ athletes and coaches. The council builds upon USA Ultimate’s community liaison program and will consist of several LGBTQ+ members of the ultimate community that provide input to USA Ultimate on a variety of issues. Applications are currently being accepted.
- USA Ultimate is partnering with The Inclusion Playbook, an organization that specializes in services aimed at driving change within athletic organizations with an emphasis on racial justice, gender equity and LGBTQ+ inclusion. USA Ultimate and the Inclusion Playbook will offer a training webinar and accompanying resources for local ultimate organizers to help in creating a messaging and communications framework around transgender inclusion policies and, more broadly, transgender inclusion in sports. The webinar is scheduled for Thursday, April 27, at 3:00 p.m. ET. Registration is available via Zoom.
- USA Ultimate has partnered with Unmatched Athlete, a Maryland-based nonprofit that encourages youth who identify as LGBTQ+ and allies ages 5-18 to participate in sports and fitness. USA Ultimate is providing equipment and curriculum in support of Unmatched Athlete’s efforts to include ultimate in its programming. Through this partnership, USA Ultimate hopes to identify similar opportunities in other areas across the U.S.
In addition to these items, USA Ultimate continues to identify and consider other potential ways to demonstrate our commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion, often with help and input from community members.
With the spring competition season on the immediate horizon, including the college postseason championship series and high school state championships, we would like to remind the community that everyone is welcome in our sport, and we expect the conduct and actions of all event participants, regardless of role, to be consistent with an inclusive and welcoming environment. All behavior should be rooted in respect, kindness, safety and the prevention of harm. USA Ultimate stands by all transgender athletes and participants in our community and remains committed to ensuring everyone has the right to experience the sport in a positive and supportive way.